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Caring for your skin

Friday, March 18, 2016

Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest organ? Each year, thousands are plagued by various skin diseases and cancers. While all diseases aren’t preventable, a great deal of them are. With summer rapidly approaching, there is no better time to teach your family how to best take care of their skin. Prevention is the best cure when it comes to skin ailments!

One of the best and most proactive means of skin health is to be smart about sun exposure. A great deal of unprotected sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, and many other skin problems including an increased chance of skin cancer. When going outside for prolonged periods of time be sure to lather down with sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15. Most dermatologists recommend a higher rated SPF during peak sun times. If you are in the water, be sure to reapply frequently. In addition to wearing sunscreen, avoid direct sun between about 10am to 2pm. This tends to be when the sun beams are at their harshest and can cause the most damage. Seek out shade if you must be outside during these times.

Smoking is another factor that can contribute to skin issues. Smoking narrows blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which in turn decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to your skin’s overall well-being. The fibers that give your skin strength can also be damaged by smoking resulting in loss of elasticity and in turn causing wrinkles. There are no preventative measures to prevent smoking from hurting your skin. The only sure method is to quit smoking all together.

Luckily there are easy ways for you to nourish and care for your skin with simple adjustments to your usual routines. Keeping your skin nourished and healthy helps to prevent other issues. To start, limit the amount of time you spend in very hot water. It can dry out your skin and tends to eliminate natural oils. Also be sure to avoid strong soaps whenever possible. They can strip oils off of your skin and cause irritation. Go for soaps that state they are gentle or sensitive. When you are done bathing, pat yourself dry rather than scrubbing with a towel. This allows some moisture and your natural oils to stay put. While you are still damp from bathing, be sure to moisturize. Moisturizing at this stage allows you to lock in extra moisture and natural oils and increases the softness of your skin. If you use a moisturizer daily, consider one with a SPF built in.

If you have any other questions or want more ways you can protect your skin, visit a dermatologist for an exam. They can look at your skin, any problems you may have, and provide medications or suggestions to ensure you are at your optimal health.

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